Every year I’m reminded of the general population’s lack of direction and perspective. Every year this reminder comes on Valentine’s Day.
Whether you hold the holiday to apply mostly to couples or to love in general, there’s no reason to be bitter. And yet every year people whine. So much of our culture centers around definitions of what we have and what we think we need to have to attain happiness. God forbid I’m single and someone else isn’t – they MUST be happier than I, no? Love is what we already have and love is what we stand to gain. Ultimately, it’s got very little to do with whether you’re single or not.
For me, personally, the holiday applies to all. I feel loved and I love loving others. On the one day of the year dedicated to love’s expression, the last thing on my mind is the fact that I’m part of a “liebespaar,” a love-pair. In fact, aside from sneaking to work early enough to slip a holiday card under my beloved’s keyboard, today was much like any other: We worked, then he went to the gym and I went to two bookstores, we eventually both ended up at home where we shared a very simple meal and now he’s downstairs watching an all new episode of The Office while I’m upstairs in my temple room bloggering and about to conclude the night with puja. I could just as easily have had the same evening were I single.
The Bible says “God is love,” and Christians are commanded to love everyone as their guru loved them. Greeks and Romans understood many forms of love – some forms being more carnal than others, which were virtually too lofty for humans to attain. And within Hinduism love has as many expressions as the Divine does.
Human-sized bears, overpriced chocolate and heart-shaped chalk candy are of course the more commercial aspect of the holiday’s modern incarnation, but the real idea of the day is no less changed. And mark my words, plenty of people today were gifted amazing flowers, steak dinners and wine, chocolates, jewelry, and romantic nights in… and will go to sleep feeling just as empty as they did when they awoke this morning. Our celebrated day of love truly has little to do with whether you’re single or not.
This year Valentine’s Day and Vasant Panchami coincide. I find this to be very auspicious. My Facebook status early today was to wish all “the love of knowledge and the knowledge of love.” I think the combination of a Day of Love and a day spent worshipping Saraswati, the holy personification of Wisdom, is wonderful. Think about what it means to actually love knowledge, and also to have knowledge of love. It’s much more than just a clever switching of word order. Possessing the love of knowledge as well as the knowledge of love, I feel, has played a large role in shaping me into who I am – and as long as I retain that perspective, I think it’s likely that this will continue to shape my personal evolution. I sincerely hope the same for you.
Love. Learn to see it in its myriad forms, please.